Immigrants' Language Skills and Visa Category

B.R. Chiswick, Y.L. Lee, Paul Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


This article is concerned with the determinants of English language proficiency among immigrants in a longitudinal survey for Australia. It focuses on both visa category and variables derived from an economic model of the determinants of destination-language proficiency among immigrants. Skills-tested and economic immigrants have the greatest proficiency shortly after immigration, followed by family-based visa recipients, with refugees having the lowest proficiency. Other variables the same, these differences disappear by 3.5 years after immigration for speaking skills; and although they diminish, they persist longer for reading and writing skills. The variables generated from the model of destination-language proficiency (such as schooling and age at migration) are, in part, predictions of visa category, but they are more important statistically for explaining proficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-450
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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